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High School Students Are Less Likely [Than Adults] To Seek Help For Their Mental Illnesses Due To Societal Stigma

1811 words - 8 pages

Societal Stigma 1
Running Head: Societal Stigma "

High School students are less likely [than adults] to seek help for
their mental illnesses due to societal stigma.

Guy Bukovsky"
Ms. Fornazar"
Dec 12, 2014"


Societal Stigma 2

Through collecting 21 survey results and analyzing the answers given I was able to draw

some conclusions. First off, people who have not been diagnosed with a mental illness are
11.6% more comfortable with talking to the guidance department about mental health; from this
result, I can conclude that people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness are feeling
shame or fear of stigmatization. ...view middle of the document...

This response prompts the question,
do teenagers participate in, yet believe themselves uninvolved when it comes to systematic
stigmatization? !


Societal Stigma 3

Based on external research, I have come to a few conclusions about the nature of

stigma in both adolescents and adults. While there are different factors that affect them each
differently, the nature of self-stigma or individualized stigma remains the same —both adults and
adolescents stigmatize similarly (Fritz 2007). Negative societal stigma is linked with poor
medicating, fewer job opportunities, worse/slower recovery, and reduced help seeking
(Chronister, Chou, Liao 2013). Furthermore, according to a recent study, mentally ill teenagers
report losing friends due to stigma, and 2/3 report experiencing stigma (Elias 2014). While it has
many negative factors stigmatization’s biggest effect on people living with mental illness is its
creation of self-stigmatization. Self-stigma can (and does) lead to self-blame, a sense of
responsibility, depression, and a reluctance to get help. Those who self-stigmatize less are
generally more satisfied with their quality of life (Fritz 2007). There are different approaches to
coping with stigmatization, and it is a vital part of the recovery process (Chronister, Chou, Liao
2013). The different coping strategies include: withdrawal, confrontation, and social support.
Generally, those who cope by receiving emotional and social support report the highest quality
of life, and lower depression/isolation; those who cope by confronting the stigma (ie. arguing
with someone who says something insensitive) also report higher quality of life; those who use
withdrawal and similar coping strategies are most subjected to the symptoms of self-stigma
(Chronister, Chou, Liao 2013). When it comes to receiving social/emotional support, studies find
that adolescents share with one another more easily than with the guidance department and
faculty in a school setting, and that constant, indirect support from teachers (ie. talking about
that illness in class) can help break down self-stigma (Elias 2014). A lot of self-stigma may arise
from stigmatization at home. A parent’s perception of mental illness is often passed on to the
child, who adopts their point of view, and therefore may stigmatize themselves if they are having
issues with mental illness (Moses 2010). Overall, all my sources agree — stigmatization is
similar in adults and adolescents, and while there is no significant difference in the amount of

Societal Stigma 4
adults versus the amount of adolescents seeking help, stigmatization does prevent people (of all
ages) from getting the help they need."


Based on both my own research, and the information I have compiled from various

academic journals, I have found no evidence to back my specific hypothesis [High School
students are less likely [than adults] to seek help for their mental illnesses due to...

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